Politics & Policy

Qualifiers Vs. Quality

This anti-war Kerry has little chance against the clearheaded Bush.

The latest born-again, anti-war version of John Kerry keeps spewing out mealy-mouthed qualifiers regarding his vote to authorize President Bush to go to war in Iraq.

Kerry and his people have invented a story that could basically go like this: “The only reason why I, John Kerry, voted for that resolution was to give the president negotiating clout with France and the U.N. Security Council. And so, as my new born-again anti-war reasoning goes, since Bush was a lousy diplomat and since the WMDs were never found, I wouldn’t have gone to war. And if you can possibly follow the tortured logic I am now presenting to the American electorate, you can see that my position today is absolutely, totally, unambiguously, and clearly consistent with my vote two years ago.”

As one famous sportscaster frequently proclaims, Let’s go to the scoreboard. Yes, let’s actually look at the facts. Let’s actually review S.J.RES.46, “To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq” (October 2, 2002).

Note immediately that the title of this joint resolution makes no mention of qualifying conditions. It is simply and clearly a document stressing the will of Congress to let the president go to war against Iraq if he sees fit to do so. No qualifiers.

At the heart of the resolution is section 3, “Authorization for use of United States Armed Forces,” paragraph B: “(1) Reliance of the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against a continuing threat posed buy Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and (2) acting pursuant to this resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.”

In other words, this congressional authorization for war specifically and unambiguously says that further diplomacy will not adequately protect the United States against the threat posed by Iraq.

Not only are Kerry’s newfound qualifiers not included in this resolution, his so-called diplomatic qualifier is actually precluded by the resolution. This is precisely why Kerry’s latest anti-war political offensive leading up to this evening’s foreign-policy debate has no resonance with either registered or likely voters according to virtually every poll.

American voters are smart, not stupid. With great clarity they see that John Kerry’s basic campaign message is pessimism. Pessimism on the Iraq war, pessimism on homeland defense against terrorism, and pessimism on the economy. It is becoming clearer by the day that an increasingly desperate Kerry campaign has provided us with the spectacle that Democrats are rooting for bad news from Iraq and other war fronts as well as on the economy.

By the way, though it probably won’t come up in tonight’s debate, the latest economic news on gross domestic product, wages and salaries, business investment, and Chicago-based heartland manufacturing all borders on the spectacular.

In this evening’s debate, George Bush will counter the pessimism of the Kerry Democrats with his own sense of optimism and confidence in America. Bush’s clarity on the moral nature of this fight against Islamofacism and his steadfast purposefulness on national security will make him a winner. No amount of debating tricks or bullying tactics or clever putdowns can change the marvelous content of Bush’s message.

We have taken out Saddam and the Taliban and the world is a better place. We are bringing a dose of freedom and democracy to the Middle East — a very good thing indeed. We are taking the fight to our enemy’s turf, which is bogging them down in a quagmire of their own making. And if the terrorist vermin are slinking around Iraq now, at the center of this global battle, then fine. Better there than here.

Bush understands the global nature of this war against radical fundamentalist Islamism. It is in fact World War IV. John Kerry does not understand the global nature of this battle, nor the enormous stakes involved in preserving freedom and democracy as a core principle and value for the U.S. and the rest of the world.

Indeed, John Kerry never understood the global war against Soviet Communism 30 years ago. That’s why he was wrong on Vietnam, and he’s just as wrong today.

— Larry Kudlow, NRO’s Economics Editor, is CEO of Kudlow & Co. and host with Jim Cramer of CNBC’s Kudlow & Cramer.


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